Jackson Tree Board Members


The practice of topping is so wide spread that many people believe it is the proper way to prune trees. However, topping can cause a variety of problems in trees, and ultimately cause problems for homeowners.
Topping and pruning: What’s the difference? Topping is the excessive and arbitrary removal of all parts of the tree above and beyond a certain height with no regard for structure or growth pattern of the tree. Pruning is the selective removal of certain limbs based on the structure and growth pattern of the tree.
Tree topping myths. The tree is too tall. This indicates either poor species selection, improper tree placement, or fear that the tree might be dangerous in storms. Topping reduces the risk of storm damage. The reduction in height reduces risk temporarily, but as the tree regrows, it is structurally weaker and the risk becomes greater. It produces a denser shade. The shade may be denser in a small area, but the overall shading potential is reduced. It has to be topped because of power lines. Tree and power line conflicts may be resolved by proper species selection, better placement or different pruning technique. Remember: power line clearance benefits the lines, not the trees.
Problems caused by topping. The balance between roots and crown is destroyed. Removal of too many branches and leaves can starve trees. Without foliage trees cannot make enough food to maintain growth and vigor. Sunscald can occur. Bark tissues suddenly exposed to full sun may be burned and develop disease cankers. Large stubs can’t heal. Stubs are separated from food and water flow. As tissues die, wounds don’t seal, and decay may enter and spread to the trunk. New growth is weak. New sprouts are attached to the surface of stubs rather than being anchored from within former limbs. Topping can create a hazard. Storms do more damage because the new growth is weakly attached. Topping disfigures trees. The practice of topping is not recommended. Proper pruning that thins the crown with cuts made at branch collars, is the best practice for long term heath of trees.

“Each generation takes the Earth as trustees. We ought to bequeath to posterity as any forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed." J. Sterling Morton

"He who plants a tree plants hope." Lucy Larcom

111 East Main Street, Suite 201
Jackson, Tennessee 38301
Ph (731) 425-8286
Fax (731)927-8781


Jodi Jacobs,
City Forester


Byanker Cole,
Planning Coordinator


Eddie Jenkins
17 Ashton Cove
Jackson, TN 38305
David Middlebrooks
Jackson Energy Authority
P. O. Box 68
Jackson, TN 38302
Nathan Carter
14 Fair Oaks Drive
Jackson, TN 38301
Kevin Andrews
Fireline, Inc.
115 McCorry Street
Jackson, TN 38301
Dr. Charles Baldwin
48 Sandpiper Cove
Jackson, TN 38305
Jerry Gist, Mayor City of Jackson
Tony Black, Director of Parks & Recreation